Operation TACONITE comes to an end

The crew of the Coast Guard Guard Cutter Hollyhock, homeported in Port Huron, Mich., transits Lake St. Clair en route to the western basin of Lake Erie for ice-breaking operations, Jan. 13, 2015. U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers, as part of Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite, have been working tirelessly to keep vessel traffic and important economic supplies moving throughout the Great Lakes. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Gould)

U.S. Coast Guard concludes ice breaking operations on the western Great Lakes

SAULT SAINTE MARIE, Mich. – Commander, Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie concluded
its domestic ice breaking operation, also known as Operation TACONITE. With the ice throughout the Western Great Lakes nearly melted, ice breaking in support of commercial navigation is no longer required.

In the 95 days (21 Dec-26 Mar) of the 2021 Domestic Icebreaking Season, the eight ice breaking assets assigned to Op TACONITE combined to deliver 468 hours of icebreaking assistance to the benefit of 109 vessel transits; 19 of these movements (5 US 14 CA) required direct ice breaking assistance to ensure commercial vessel safety. These same ice breaking assets put forth an additional 1,600 hours of preventative icebreaking support to establish and maintain tracks in the ice hampered waterways of western Lake Superior, the Straits of Mackinac, Green Bay, Georgian Bay, and the St Marys River. It is estimated more than two million tons of dry bulk cargoes were assisted during the 95 days of 2021 domestic icebreaking season. This translates to roughly $77 million dollars of cargo critical to power generation, industrial productivity and public safety, aided during the period of ice cover.

Further inquiries can be made by phone to Sault Vessel Traffic Service at (906) 635-3232 or via email at [email protected].